How do I Wrangle My Volunteers? – Learn Stage Lighting .com

How do I Wrangle My Volunteers?

By David / 7 years ago

If you’ve been in church AV for any amount of time, you know that there are all types of volunteers- people of many different personalities and skill levels.

Add into the fact that you’re usually not paying them, and sometimes leading your volunteers feels like herding cats!

So, while managing the individual people in your church requires your perspective (and prayer!) to appeal to each person’s temperament, I want to share with you some traits that you want to find and cultivate in volunteers for your lighting team.


The number one traits that I would like to see in every volunteer that works with lighting is diligence and high attention to detail.

With these 2 abilities in place, you can work with anybody to succeed with what you are doing.  So, if you have a choice of volunteers(and I realize that often you don’t), look for people who are diligent and care about detail.

What we do in production is often hard work, and so we want to find people who have that work ethic already in place.

If you’ve got a decently sized lighting setup, you want a few different types of lighting volunteers to help out when you need to do setups and make changes.

The first person you need is someone to help with setup and re-arrangement of the lighting.  This person will want to be someone who is comfortable in your lift/on scaffolding or ladders, and who is good with hand tools.  For that reason, someone from the building trades or engineering is best.  They can look at your creative plans it make it happen- and fast!

You’re also going to want console operators, people who actually run the lighting on Sunday morning and other events at your church.

For this, you’ll want someone who is organized and attentive, and perhaps artistic if you leave artistic decisions like colors and moving lights up to them.

Many churches pre-program everything, so you don’t necessarily need someone artsy to operate the console.  An organized and attentive person will thrive in operating your console, able to bring up lights when necessary, and quickly find lights to bring up when something goes out of schedule (because last-minute changes never happen in your church, right?:).

If you have a large lighting rig, you’re also going to want lighting volunteers who are the lighting designer/director, if not yourself.

This is the person who will call the shots with how the lighting will be programmed and what looks will go with what sets or songs every week.

This person may also be the console operator, and if you don’t have a big rig, it may just be you every week.

This person is essential in helping you to manage your team as you are putting together your lighting looks periodically.  The ideal person for this position is someone who has already served the lighting department in other areas, has the drive to learn and has a bit of all the skills needed for the other volunteers.

A great, well-trained lighting director volunteer can really help you to manage your lighting team and system well.

Volunteers are the life-blood of your ministry.  With them working well, you can achieve great things and have flawless production.

Without them engaged, you may have a mess of confusion and craziness every week.  Choosing good volunteers and using wisdom to get them in the right “seats on the bus” can greatly improve your ministry and your stress level.  Working in technical ministry can be tough, but it is really rewarding and so worth it!

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